Joe Haden starred in his own version of Orange Is the New Black when the Browns cut him Wednesday morning and he signed with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers late at night.

Now the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback is working with his new team to prepare for a meeting with the Browns in the Sept. 10 regular-season opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Immediately heading back to Cleveland for Week 1 will undoubtedly be a surreal feeling for Haden, who spent the past seven seasons with the Browns after they drafted him seventh overall in 2010 out of the University of Florida.

“It’s going to be a tough experience,” Haden said Thursday in a video on the Steelers’ website. “It’s going to be an emotional experience just because I’ve had so much time there and it’s just a quick turnaround. I’m just right back in there. So it should be special. I’m really excited about the opportunity, though. I’m just ready to get to playing some football and making plays.”

Haden described Wednesday as “a blur” because after Cleveland cut him, he and agent Drew Rosenhaus fielded offers from other teams and quickly chose the Steelers, who signed the former Browns captain to a three-year contract reportedly worth $27 million.

“Everything was moving really fast,” Haden said. “It was kind of tough just [because of] the relationships that I’ve had there, just being in Cleveland having a lot of friends.”

Believing Haden’s lucrative contract — he was set to make $11.1 million this year and next year as well as $10.4 million in 2019 — didn’t match his recent performance, the Browns approached him about taking a pay cut. He declined. They also tried to trade him but didn’t find a partner. Haden has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons.

So the Browns cut Haden, 28, making him a free agent. He said the Steelers were the first team to contact Rosenhaus and mentioned the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys as other organizations that made offers.

“I had some other offers, but with me, it was more just the opportunity to be able to be with an organization that I know their structure,” Haden said.

“Talking to my agent, talking to my family, I just felt like this would be the best fit for me.”

Haden explained he felt comfortable with the Steelers partly because he won a national championship at Florida with two of their offensive linemen, Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert. He’s also had a good relationship with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin since the NFL Scouting Combine in 2010. Haden and Tomlin took time to talk to each other every time the Browns played the Steelers.

A chance to join a contender with five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown enticed Haden as well. Haden has had many battles with Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, with the Steelers dominating their AFC North series against the Browns over the years.

“Just knowing that you’re going into the game with them and not against them, it’s a lighter feeling,” Haden said.

But it’s safe to say the feelings Haden will experience when he reunites with the Browns for the first time will be strong.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.